Online-shopping veteran Rebecca Tay explores the digital world of discount ready-to-wear while taking an exclusive tour of The Outnet’s HQ in London.
Online-shopping virgins are rare these days. Any girl worth her weight in Wang (whether it’s Alexander or Vera) has not only done the deed but also experimented with the latest spine-tingling activity: trolling the web for designer discounts. Who hasn’t hit the sheets with their laptop primed for a little ready-to-wear rollback action? Half-price Lanvin ballet flats? Yes, please! Erdem floral dresses for a fraction of their original price? Click: “buy!” E-boutiques like Shopbop, Asos and Net-A-Porter have huge followings, but the new stars of the online retail world are the luxury-good bargain hunters. When it comes to these price-choppy waters, The Outnet is the mother ship, drawing more than one million unique visitors every month. It was launched in 2009 as an offshoot of Net-A-Porter, which was one of the first companies to offer designer brands online. With more than 200 high-end labels to browse, including Stella McCartney, Marni, Balmain and Marc Jacobs, this site is a destination for marked-down must-haves. Boots that once cost a month’s rent are now $200; almost everything, from Alexander McQueen to Zac Posen, is 50 to 70 per cent off. It’s a virtual dream, but I get the chance to see if this fairy-tale land of luxe-for-less really exists beyond the screen when I receive an exclusive invitation to spend a day at The Outnet. Read more »